Verderber world-wide (in Gothic type letters).

Verderber world-wide

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Leo Verderber (1919–2002), the scholar

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Leo Verderber was a member of the Jewish family branch, whose fate is exemplarily reflected in the live of Leo Verderber.

The live of Leo Verderber

Leo Verderber was born in January 1919 in the German city Leipzig. His parents were Leah and Joseph Verderber, Ashkenazi Jews, who had moved to Leipzig until the First World War and who supposedly came from Galicia. Galicia was part of Austria-Hungary at that time and covers the region around Lemberg (Ukrainian Lwiw) in the southeast of Poland and the west of the Ukraine. It is supposed, that the original name of the family was not Verderber but Rosenzweig and was changed to Verderber after moving to Leipzig. Joseph’s father’s was Abraham Aba. Aba is a common Hebrew name and it could be a nickname for Abraham.

During the 1930 years Leo Verderber studied the Thora in Switzerland and then continued his studies in a Yeshiva – a High School for the study of Jewish texts – in the town Galanta, which is situated in western Slovakia about 50 kilometres in the east of Bratislava. From that time he flew the national socialists from country to country und finally found refuge for one year in a town in southern Italy until the town was given to the Germans. He was deported to the concentration camp Auschwitz (Oświecim) and was one of the very few survivors.

After the Second World War Leo Verderber returned to Italy, learnt Italian and accompanied the chief rabbi of Israel to speak with pope Pius XII. in Rome to release Jewish orphans who survived the war in catholic orphanages, but this request was denied.

At Rome he met Julia Danon, of Turkish descent who grew up in a Sephardic family in Rome. They married in 1946 and a few years later moved to the United States of America. The Immigrant society sent them to Denver in the federal state of Colorado. There he taught Hebrew Studies during studying languages at the College. After receiving his doctorate he taught German and Italian in the public school system, beginning at the College, later at the High School. In his free time he dedicated himself to the Talmud. At the beginning of 2002 he died at Denver at the age of 83 years. He is survived by two daughters living in the United States of America and in Canada.

His story of survival during the Holocaust was taped by the Spielberg Group for Holocaust Remembrance and a video of three hours is available.

The fate of his family

Leo Verderber had one brother and two sisters:

The parents, Leah and Joseph Verderber, also perished in the Shoah.


An obituary notice about Leo Verderber is given under in the “Intermountain Jewish News” – after own declaration the only Jewish newspaper in the federal state Colorado of the United States of America.

The name Leo Verderber is also mentioned in a list of Jews deported from 1943 to 1945 from Italy; see

Most of the information was given by the relatives of Leo Verderber, especially the son-in-law Nathan Hofman; there is to thank them here with great pleasure.

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